At its annual President's Picnic, Aug. 20, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce recognized its 2013-14 Youth Ambassadors for Service and welcomed its 2014-15 Youth Ambassadors.
The chamber thanked Natalie Baldassarre and Chris Swagler for the past year of service as the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Youth Ambassadors. In the past year, Baldassarre and Swagler represented the chamber at the following events: Light Up the Boulevard, Chamber Holiday Party, Citizen of the Year Award Banquet, KidBiz, the Scholarship Hot Dog Sale, the Fourth of July Parade, and the Chambers Directors' Summer Picnic.
Swagler is now attending Niagara University, while Baldassarre is attending Canisius College.
The chamber selected two new Youth Ambassadors to promote interaction and goodwill between the business community and students and to bring them an awareness of the economic development of Grand Island. The two Youth Ambassadors selected will represent the youth of Grand Island at chamber and community events. This program is open to students in grades 11 and 12. The two chosen Youth Ambassadors will both receive a $1,000 scholarship. In June, the chamber held interviews for its 2014-15 Youth Ambassadors and selected Cole Kline and Maggie Rustowicz, both members of the Grand Island High School Class of 2015.
Kline is an involved senior at Grand Island High School. He represents the students of the school as Class of 2015 vice president and Student Council treasurer and also serves as president of DECA, the school business club/organization. He is a distinguished member of the National Honor Society, and is one of four people who do the morning and afternoon announcements daily. Kline is on both the varsity football team in the fall and the varsity bowling team in the winter. He is looking forward to going to college in Washington, D.C., to pursue a degree and later a career in economics/ politics.
Rustowicz is a lifelong Islander and has attended Grand Island schools since kindergarten. Throughout her educational career she has strived to do her best, achieving the honor or high honor roll since sixth grade, while taking a strenuous courseload, including advanced and honors classes, band and chorus. Rustowicz has been very involved in school. She is a three-sport varsity athlete, earning letters and bars in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, and has represented Grand Island at the sectional level, where she placed third and fifth in race walk. This year, she has joined the varsity cheerleading squad. Rustowicz has been active in DECA for three years, and is in several school clubs, a class officer, and an editor with the Venture Yearbook staff. She has always been taught it is important to give back and has been a volunteer in the community for as long as she can remember. She is the fourth of six children of Maura and Kevin Rustowicz. She plans to pursue a career in law.
The chamber also congratulated its 2014 scholarship winner, Lucas Siebert, and wished him the best of luck at the University of Buffalo.